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- Tips for Saving for a Big Dream/Purchase
I'm a bit annoyed whenever someone tells me that I'm rich whenever I travel: either dreams of going to Europe, US, Australia, or whenever I book airline tickets both local and abroad.
Let me just clear this up: I am not rich. I am a working professional just like you. I earn money every month by working a 9-6 job, I blog for extra money (although I only earn enough just to pay for a lunch ever month), and I am not a daughter of some tycoon where I could ask for money whenever I feel like it.
Let me share to you some of my ideals on how to save money for what you really want. First off, a word of warning: its hard. Getting the discipline to actually save is really, really hard. It took me ages to get the self-discipline!
First off, my profile (for your comparison): I'm currently 20+, employed full time, single, and I don't have to support my parents (at the moment) - I can get to keep whatever I earn without providing x amount of money to my family. I don't like to eat out, and I don't like to watch movies in the cinema. And I abhore hotel buffets.
So, here's how I save money for my trips/books:
1. Less shopping.
I used to be a shopaholic. From 2006 to early 2007, I cannot leave the mall without carrying something out of a certain store. It's true. Case and point: I got addicted to Havaianas and ended up with around 30+ pairs. Talk about a waste. It took me a year and a half to get on the path of shopaholic rehab and stop buying these stuff that I don't need. I always ask myself now if I really need a certain thing before I buy it. And yes, even if its on sale, regardless how big of a percentage it is on sale, I keep asking myself that question again and again.
However, I do have my faults. Why I have the self-discipline to not buy clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, and gadgets, I have a weakness: books and notebooks. I keep buying books even though I have a few hundred more to read. But then again, I allow myself to keep buying books as a reward to myself (more about that later).
Always categorize a potential buy: Do you need it? Do you just want it? Or is it just an impulse buy? Chances are, if it is just an impulse buy, you'll end up forgetting about that certan thing when you wake up the next morning.
2. Pack food/drinks whenever possible.
As I said, I don't like to eat out. I tried computing how much it would take every single day to buy lunch and dinner and believe me, the amounts could add up. compare the cost of buying food from fast food chains/restaurants to cooking at home and you'll end up being surprised as well. You'll save a lot.
I also don't like buying softdrinks or mineral water from restaurants. They charge a lot more for drinks compared to buying stuff from the grocery store. What I normally do is pack a small 350ml container (which I bought from SM) and fill up with lukewarm water from the office or at home. It's enough to keep me hydrated while I'm out and keeps me from buying water outside.
I also don't like buying coffee from Starbucks or the other cafes. They're really overpriced as well. Imagine if you buy a latte everyday. You'll get to save around P4000 a month if you stop buying coffee and just drink coffee from the free coffee machines you would get at the office. Don't have a coffee machine in the office? Opt for cheaper coffee: buy your coffee from either 7-11 or buy a pack of instant coffee and make your own!
3. Find other means of income.
Get another job (I would say part time), buy and sell stuff, turn a hobby (ie baking) into a profitable mini business - the choices are endless. I choose to blog and to invest to earn additional income. Blogging may not be for everyone though - it takes a lot of hard work as well. I choose my other means of income to be a passive one.
(Nerdy talk: there are two types of income: Passive and Active. Passive income is your ability to make money without working or exerting effort for it. Active income is your ability to make money from your services or from your job). Blogging can be considered as a mixture of passive & active income. Active because you exert effort while you create your blogs, and passive when you get paid every month for advertising space.
Passive income is considred the best because you're making money without batting a finger! I have investments that make x amounts of moolah every month. It's not much, I definitely can't live off it, but at least I'm making a few extra. Do note that before you invest in anything, you'll need to understand what you're investing on and the probable risks involved (hence I am thankful for my banking background cos it gave me an advantage).
4. Sell/trade or re-gift your stuff.
One man's junk is another man's treasure, as they say. If you have something that you don't use anymore, you could try to sell it online (given that it's still in good condition)! I don't normally use this tip. Instead of selling my stuff, I normally just give it away to friends as presents for Christmas or other occassions. Case & point: books. As I said, I can't stop buying books. So, depending on how many books I've read and how many friends I have who love to read, I get a stash of presents for them, ready anytime ;) You could also re-gift stuff if you want to - ie if you get a gift from someone but you don't really like it or you won't need it, you could re-gift it to someone who may make better use of it than you would. Better than it accumulating dust in your closet.
5. Find discounts for your needs
Need something? Scout for deals online using group buying websites. You'll get to save x amount of money, but make sure you'll need it before you do buy it! Need clothes? Wait for sale season before getting anything. Need toiletries? In my personal opinion, the best place for getting cheap toiletries is Watsons. They have these racks of stuff that are buy one take one (if you are patient enough to scout the store looking for the if they have any). They normally don't advertise they have this specific deal so keep scouting ;) Think of it as a game.
Trivia: Whenever I buy toiletries (ie soap, shampoo, etc), I normally compute per oz/g/ml to get the best deal. Not all things in big packages are cheaper than the smaller packages (ie the biggest Cetaphil 427ml bottle is more expensive than 2 250ML Cetaphil).
So,, that's part one of my saving tips :) I don't really have a book review post up done yet or a travelogue done. Year end has been absolutely tiring for me and I have been resting and sleeping most weekends. *Sigh*
Hope this can be of help to you guys :)